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'We Want The Governor!' SEIU Protesters Arrested In Olympia Demonstration

Unfortunately, Washington Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire has been forced to adopt the "slash, don't tax" mentality more common with Republican governors after voters rejected several new taxes in November's election and restricted the

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Unfortunately, Washington Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire has been forced to adopt the "slash, don't tax" mentality more common with Republican governors after voters rejected several new taxes in November's election and restricted the Legislature's ability to raise taxes without a statewide vote.

Labor unions aren't going to let it go unchallenged:

Seventeen people were arrested after trying to storm the governor’s office in a third day of protests over state budget cuts Thursday.

In a prelude to what unions say will be a bigger rally today, a protest organized by the Service Employees International Union brought about 500 people to Olympia to call on lawmakers to end corporate tax exemptions before cutting state services.

Most protesters rallied in the Rotunda of the Legislative Building Thursday afternoon. Several were eventually arrested when they tried to push past Washington State Patrol officers guarding the governor’s office and refused to leave.

Protesters pushed against troopers stationed at the governor’s door shouting “let us in” and “we want the governor.”

“They (legislators) need to listen to us,” said Sharon Kitchel-Perdue, a home-care worker from Olympia and one of the protesters arrested.

Sgt. John Sager, one of the troopers on the scene, said that some of the protesters said they wanted to be arrested, and eventually, their actions gave troopers no choice.

“It was getting pretty hairy in here,” Sager said.

Back in December, Gregoire proposed cuts in the budget targeting the "Disability Lifeline" formerly known as GA-U or General Assistance Unemployable:

Programs that help Washington's poor were among those cut from Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed two-year budget Wednesday, a plan she said she hated so much that "in some places, I don't even think it's moral."

Gregoire used a mix of cuts to state programs, suspension of voter initiatives and use of the state's "rainy day" fund to patch a projected $4.6 billion deficit.

The approximately $3 billion in cuts to her 2011-13 budget included the elimination of the Basic Health Program, which provides subsidized medical insurance to 66,000 poorer Washingtonians. Also eliminated is cash grants and medical care for the Disability Lifeline program, which mostly aids childless adults who are unemployable but not receiving federal aid.

Among local recipients of Disability Lifeline grants are survivors of domestic violence, who often suffer from post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues that can make it difficult for them to hold employment.

[...] Gregoire noted that the word "eliminate" is used about 80 times in her budget.

"I hate my budget," she said, tearing up. "I hate it because in some places, I don't even think it's moral."

Sate Republicans, of course, are thrilled. Austerity makes them tingly!

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